Is Jealousy Killing You?
Do you ever feel like you are behind in life? Or you should be further ahead?
Maybe by now you expected certain things in life to happen and it did not happen on your time and your way.
Why do we feel this way? Perhaps without us knowing it, we are comparing our lives to others and even more serious we have a spirit of jealousy and envy in our hearts.
Maybe you are thinking “No, I’m not jealous.”
Let’s do a check: When your friend told you that they bought a house, how did you feel? When your girlfriend said she was engaged or someone in your family announced they were pregnant did your heart leap with joy or was their just a hint of pain and envy in your heart?
Maybe you would not call what you are feeling jealousy or envy, but anytime you are not happy for someone who is going through something good or you compare yourself to another person, it can be an indication that something more is going on in your heart. It could possibly be a spirit of jealousy and envy.
How can we be sure? In the Bible, Genesis 29-30, tells us a story of two sisters who had this problem. The Bible says that Leah was plain looking, and Rachel was beautiful. Both women were married to Jacob. Yet both of them had pain their lives. Jacob loved Rachel, not Leah. Leah had children, but Rachel was barren.
Two different women, two different problems, but each looked at each other’s lives and desired what the other one had and they were willing do anything to get it.
In the story, Leah had three sons with Jacob and believed that her husband would love her more for her children. But that was not case, he still did not lover her. Rachel saw that she had no children and wanted what Leah had and made her husband sleep with her servant and was able to bear two sons from her servant.
After Rachel had two sons through her servant, Leah then asked Jacob to sleep with her servant and had two more sons through her. Then Leah slept with Jacob and had her fifth son and later had a sixth son.
When you read this story in the Bible, it’s exhausting to think what the women were willing to do just to get what they wanted. But we can learn from this story how deep jealousy and envy can cut in our lives.
In life, focus on God not your problem. Rachel told her husband “if you don’t give me a son I am going to die” (Genesis 30: 1). Have you been feeling like the world is going to end because you don’t have what you want in life? Jealousy in your life can cause you to feel depressed and maybe even suicidal. How can we overcome these feelings? Focus on God not your problem. Go back to the Word of God and pray about your situation. Then surrender it to God.
In life, don’t push for your agenda, follow God’s time and resources. Both ladies resorted to do things their own way rather than wait on God. Leah and Rachel both used their servant to make more sons all because they were jealous of each other. At one point, Leah traded her mandrake food (a food that is suppose to increase a women’s fertility) to Rachel for a night with Jacob (Genesis 30: 14-15). Ironically, Rachel did not get pregnant but Leah did. What are you waiting for in life? Is it a job, a spouse, children, a home, to become financially free, to see a relationship restored? Whatever it is continue to pray about the situation and let God do His work His time and His way.
Be careful not to let jealousy cause you to use people. In this story, Leah and Rachel used their servants and their husband to get what they wanted but it was wrong. Their attitudes and behavior were ungodly. It was socially acceptable to have a child through a servant to build a family but it was not the will of God. People are to be treated with love and respect, people are not objects to be used or abused.
Finally, their jealousy and envy was a waste of time. All that energy for nothing. At the end of the day they did not get what they wanted. Leah was still not loved by Jacob and Rachel was still barren. In our own lives being jealous of others accomplishes nothing but defeat. You can lose love, trust, faith, hope, loyalty, relationships all because of jealousy and envy.
Instead of a jealous spirit what should we have instead? A heart of contentment and gratitude. Paul says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4: 12-13)
In another passage he writes, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)
When we count our blessings we forget about our pain and focus more on God and what He is doing right now in our lives, rather than what we do not have. What blessings can you count in your life?
Here is the other good news, as you wait on God and let him be the One to bless you He can still give you what you prayed for or desire. In the story, Rachel eventually has a son (Genesis 30: 22-23). Later on she will have another.
God is good and He has been good to us. Let us keep our focus and let Him work in our lives while we keep our focus on Him, not those around us.
To watch the full sermon on this topic, please click here.